Chapter 41

[ 41 ]

       Thus the kings, terrified and smitten by the trembling of a very great fear at the nocturnal murmuring of the bustling populace and at the din of the steeds, kept thinking Richard, with his followers, had come in the gloom of the night in order to fight. Suddenly, everyone's safety has been bewailed as lost, and the assurance of life and the hope of living has passed away from all. For, moving to and fro, they did not know what they were doing, where they were turning in flight. Indeed, each one's mind would waver at the alarmed circumstances and each one's heart, extremely alarmed and desirous of the truth, would fall hither and thither in confusion.
       One would flee, embracing swords as though out of his senses, another would wander through the coverts, plucking away oblong shields with a nearly insane spirit. Truly some would throw their tents and encampments to the ground, while others would equip their horses with trappings for forehead and breast. The one would run this way and that, whither he did not know, the other would be brought to a standstill, stunned and quivering and his gaze fixed and frozen. The one would look earnestly for his lord among the wave-driven and quivering populace, the other would feel his way, defenceless, among the mingled crowd, bawling out for his vassal. One would take flight on foot at a swift pace, others would flee, defenseless, on horses quickened by spurs. Some would carefully conceal, by stealth, mail coats and leather helmets ornamented with gold, others would claim for themselves royal and other accoutrements. The roaring of the quaking armies would resound on high, and the uproar of their inarticulate cry and the outcry of their howlings would ring confusedly.
       Therefore the people of Rouen, awakened by the disordered and soaring outcry of this hastily-raised and ringing populace, fearing lest they be suddenly attacked at dawn the following day, have fortified the town with armed guards and, themselves ever-watchful, were awaiting the sad event of the expected battle. However, as the dawn, shining in its reddish mantle, dried up the mist of the shadowy night and both the outward appearance and the mental image of its species returned to objects, the Transrhenish ones have begun to set their little tents on fire and to return to the road of their desired retreat and, not knowing the ways, to wander hither and thither, quaking. Truly, the great-souled duke Richard, decorated with the blooming down appropriate to manhood, merry and glad at the outcome of this affair, has wished to attack them with all his own readied battle-lines. But the people of Rouen, attempting to put away from so great a duke the intention of this much-desired attack, have said carefully, of one mind: "Mightiest lord duke, you are still blooming with tender age, and you are our hope for safety and confidence; we fear lest, if you were to go, you fall prey to death. They believe that we are deceived by this sham and, in our opinion, they plan to capture the town once we have burst forth from it in this way. It is not our advice for you to go with us to the battle of this combat but, whatever the fortune of this matter may be, manfully to guard the town with very many followers. But we will cautiously pursue them and will try to challenge them at arms."
       That youth of celebrated nobility, Richard, (barely prevailed upon by the skirt-tails of this persuasion) has remained in the town with very many followers, and the rest of his retinue and his new recruits, pursuing the royal hosts, would overthrow very many, killing them. At length a certain band of the warriors of Rouen has joined battle with them in the wood which is called "Maliforaminis" (note 1) and, with God's aid, has gained the victory over the defeated enemies. And likewise another assembly of the men of Rouen, awaiting the two kings' army at the outlet of the wood has overthrown and killed very many enemies and has sent the rest fleeing to the district of Amiens. Moreover, once they had obtained victory over those foes, returning to the protection of the town, the men of Rouen have recounted for Richard everything that has happened. Then the most mild marquis Richard of worshipful memory, both a duke and a most distinguished patrician, has given, with all his clergy and people, the very greatest thanks to the King of Ages and, as glad as possible, has apportioned many pious donations and votive offerings (note 2) to the sacrosanct church. With these things thus fulfilled (by divine command), he has begun to be considered a chief in all the land of the Normans and the Bretons, the Franks and the Burgundians.
       For he would glitter with the noblity of his lineages, he would be distinguished for his representation of all goodnesses. He would be famed for his manners and loftier than the stars in his merit. He would shine in his image and be second to none in compassion. A mellifluous ruler, he would embellish the condition of the state, and be known to all above the clouds through the fame of his uprightness. Skilled in the continuous deeds, studies, warning examples and lessons of an imitable goodness, he would ordain all things useful. He would be bright in countenance and brighter than all the rest in his every action. He would shine, sweet in eloquence and more agreeable than everyone in dress and gait. Glittering, with a mellifluous mouth, always serene, with a most pleasant heart. For he would indeed glow with faith, hope and charity, and with the double love of God and neighbor. He would flash with discreet simplicity and he glitter with simple discretion. He would actively calm strife and disputes and quarrels and would rule the people in a friendly manner, as a father does his children. He would abound in the profits of goodness, he would instruct very many with examples of uprightnesses. Indeed there would be truth and glory in his house, equity and justice would gleam in his works.
       For indeed the actions of the Frankish and Burgundian magnates would be directed by his providence, and those things beneficial to the state would be pondered by his practical judgment. For the proven rumor of his sanctity, dignity and abundance would be poured forth far and wide, indeed, Flemings and Easterners would obey his command. Truly, since it is least effective that a lamp, laid from heaven on a lamp-stand, be concealed under the shadow of a bushel, he whom the Lord Christ disposed to be made public, through marvelous signs, has begun to be considered among his followers as the very greatest possible man.
       How estimable the clergy and the people who would submit to the orders of so great a duke! For indeed through the aiding mercy of omnipotent God and the caring ingenuity of its duke Richard, the church of Christ would be, in those days, beautiful and greatly decorated. Indeed it would be, at his admonition, constructed upon sacred customs and illuminated with badges of the virtues, having neither blemish nor wrinkle through crime or duplicity. For indeed it would beam with solar loveliness in the loftiness of its prelates, and with lunar brightness in the humility of those ranged under it. Truly he himself would be mindful, in his most kind mind, of the condition of the innocent life and, although of the lay order, would himself equip the helm of ecclesiastical stewardship with a most serene heart. He would surpass all in action, word and propitious thought, he would glitter with good manners and with the light of his merits.
       For truly he would be opulently endowed with the grace of the Holy Spirit, and he would be very readily filled full with the wisdom of the seven-fold gift, he would daily be very worthily enriched with an abundance of merits and of all goods, with diligent and precise investigation he would search through everything that he had been able to learn with a lay understanding. For indeed, with the grace of the Holy Spirit leading the way, he would be endowed with the ornaments of moral purity, renowned for the wares of his magnanimity. He would attend closely to celestial things, caring little for vices, and would draw the inhabitants of the Norman region together under the law. He would be, moreover, a gentle youth, filled full with all uprightness, aged in the goodness of his habits, and established by Christ in the grades of humility. He would show in word and deed with what intention of mind he had been brought forward for the assistance of the rule of the whole homeland.
       For indeed he would be the mellifluous sweetness of the strong, the courage of the weak, the defender of the orphaned, the supporter of the wretched, the calmer of evils, the staff of the destitute, the repairer of churches, the genuine light of the blind, the summit of the clergy, the salvation of the needy, the pillar of the children, the ornament of prelates, the salvation of widows, the apex of the priests, the lover of alliances, the cultivator of virtues, the greatest hope of everyone, the compassion of the sorrowful, the memorable assurance of friendships, the glory of the despairing, the safeguard of presbyters, the throne of the laws, the ruler of the people, the shepherd of the poor, the model of the upright, the weapon of warriors, the judge of accusers and accused, the scale of judicial investigations, the assuager of quarrels, the father of the exiled, the receiver of the fugitive, the apportioner of offices, (note 3) the sweet love of servants, the example for all, the punishment of thieves, the defeat of bandits, the corrector of believers, the labor of kindnesses, the wall of regions, the light of all, the ideal of sanctities, the sweet chief of magistrates, the aider of kings, the protector of all peoples.

                     Apostrophe to Richard

Patrician, count, duke, marquis, prince,
Warmed by religion, distinguished as an image of uprightnesses,
Gentle in address, celebrated for the rewarding of goodnesses,
Guarding the footpath of judicial investigation by management of the law,
Richard, whom praise (the judge) stretches from west to east
To north through the common talk of recounted praise,
Your great deeds outstrip this unskilled, insignificant       pleader, although he still longs to write,
But is greatly hindered by the very mound (note 4) of manifold acts,
Nor does he have the strength to describe them,
For the vehemence of your uncommon action has overmatched him.
Let him struggle, however undeserving, that he might be able to write!
Hark! may you, God's athlete, flourish in the summit of the sky,
May you have joys with the saints in the pastures of peace.


1. The particular site in question is usually said to be the hamlet of Maupertuis.

2. Beneficia et donaria.

3. Honores.

4. Preferring the aggere of CC 276.

Go to next chapter( English and Latin )
Go to next chapter( English )
Go to next chapter( Latin )
Go to the Index